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Alumni Feature 1

Joy P. Williams, Class of 1963


Joy P. Williams

Joy Williams' writing talent was recognized early when at the age of 22 her short story, "The Roomer," was selected for inclusion in the O. Henry Awards Prize Stories 1966. Originally from Chelmsford, Massachusetts, this 1963 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Marietta College went on to receive a Master's in Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Iowa.

Williams was a researcher and data analyst for the U.S. Navy prior to the publication of her first novel in 1973. The novel, State of Grace, brought her widespread recognition and a 1974 National Book Award nomination. Noted for her precise and unconventional first-person writing style, Williams has since written several novels, numerous fiction and non-fiction articles for popular, contemporary magazines and a unique travel guide to the Florida Keys.

She was recognized with a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1973, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1974, the National Magazine Award for fiction in 1980, and the Academy-Institute Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1989. Williams was the recipient of the distinguished Harold and Mildred Strauss Living Award 1993-97. Called a "powerful writer of short fiction," she received the 1999 Rea Award for the Short Story, presented not for a specific work but for the writer’s originality and influence on the genre. Her novel, The Quick and the Dead, was a finalist for the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.